Cat Pose, or Marjaryasana, is one of the most commonly recognized yoga poses. The shape of the body resembles a stretching, arching cat. This pose is usually done as a partner to Cow Pose, as Cat Pose has the back high while Cow Pose has the back low.
Chair Pose, or Utkatasana, is a fairly challenging standing yoga pose which tests many different parts of your body at once. Chair pose requires you to balance while building strength in your entire lower half of your body. At the same time, this standing pose builds core strength by the nature of the balance position involved.
Cobra Pose, or Bhujangasana, is a floor pose which gently stretches and flexes the body. Its head-up position is reminiscent of a cobra rising up off the ground. It brings flexibility and strength.
Corpse Pose, or Savasana, is one of the simplest poses in the entire yoga repertoire. You simply lie on your back. But within that is a wealth of power. Interestingly, while many yoga teachers love to use Western names for most poses as they are easier to remember, many also use the Sanskrit name Savasana for this particular pose because they find the name “Corpse Pose” to be off-putting for Western audiences. The pose’s alternate name, Mrtasana, means “Death Pose” which is not much better. So Savasana it is.
Cow Pose, or Bitlasana, is a floor pose which is traditionally paired with Cat Pose. They are the mirrors of each other. Cow Pose shouldn’t be confused with Cow Face Pose. In Cow Face Pose, the legs and arms are all twisted together. In Cow Pose, you are simply on your hands and knees, your dangling abdomen representing the udder of a cow
Downward Facing Dog, or Adho Mukha Svanasana, is one of the most recognizable yoga positions out there. It’s featured on countless magazine covers and yoga posters. This triangular form represents so much of what yoga has to offer. It’s accessible to most people. It brings calm and stress relief. It strengthens muscles. It builds flexibility. The pose name comes from the stretch that just about every dog lover has seen a thousand times.
Easy Pose, or Sukhasana, is a pose often taught to children as a way for them to sit quietly on the floor. It is also known as “Simple Cross-Legged Pose.” In places without chairs, this would be how adults sat all the time as well. In our modern world, it’s good to practice Easy Pose several times a day to undo the damage brought by sitting at desks all day.
Extended Hand to Big Toe Pose, or Utthita Hasta Padangustasana, is a wonderful balancing pose which also builds flexibility and strength. It takes the relaxation of tree pose and raises it up to a new level. It’s probably not the first balance pose to attempt, but it’s a wonderful step forward on your path toward body awareness and health.
The Extended Side Angle Pose, or Utthita Parsvakonasana, is a position which does not only ground you and makes you more aware of your body, but it also strengthens it to its core. Being a strong activator of the Heart Chakra, the pose promotes free thinking, mindfulness and imagination. Naturally, it also gives a great stretch to the hamstrings, quadriceps, psoas as well as the upper body muscles.
Four Limbed Staff Pose, or Chaturanga Dandasana, is a demanding strength builder. It strengthens the whole upper body, especially the muscles around the arms, shoulders and core. Additionally, this pose channels the hamstrings that work especially hard to keep the body parallel to the mat. At the same time the pose nurtures focus, determination and awareness as it is a powerful Manipura Chakra and Pitta stimulant, embracing its fiery essence.
Half Pigeon Pose, or Ardha Kapotasana, is a very potent hip opener for anyone to try. It also stretches the leg muscles including the quadriceps, the hamstrings and the psoas. At the same time, it lengthens the spine and stimulates the Heart Chakra which gives satisfaction to its practitioner. Furthermore, it is refreshing as the whole stretch is relaxing and satisfying for the body and soul.
Legs Up The Wall Pose, or Viparita Krani, is an inversion pose which means it exerts an excellent soothing effect on the nervous system. At the same time, it relaxes the upper body while stretching the quadriceps muscles and preventing vascular problems in the shins, promoting healthy blood flow.
The Low Lunge Pose, or Anjaneyasana, is a backbend which positively affects practically the entire body. It opens the hips and stretches the muscles of almost every body area: the legs, the back, the core, the shoulders and the arms. It demands well-developed balance and focus hence trains one’s consciousness and awareness. Furthermore, being a Pitta and Manipura Chakra stimulant, it energizes and motivates to take action.
Mountain Pose, or Tadasana, is considered the foundation of all standing poses that offers multiple health benefits, including pain relief from sciatica. It is a great pose for beginners and can be used to transition into other poses. Tadasana can also be done by itself to improve posture and increase strength.
One-Legged King Pigeon Pose I, or Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, is a powerful hip opener that requires some flexibility. It stimulates the abdominal organs to improve digestion, opens the chest, and stretches the muscles of the groin, shoulders, and arms. It is also a great pose to reduce fatigue, stress, and anxiety.
Staff pose, or Dandasana (“Danda-” meaning staff, “-asana” meaning pose), is an upright seated position that allows for the opening of the hamstrings, while simultaneously strengthening the back muscles. With modifications, it is accessible to complete beginners and people with mobility issues.
Extended Triangle Pose (“Utthita” meaning extended, “tri” meaning three, “kon” meaning angle and “asana” meaning pose), often shortened to Triangle, is a combination of a side bend and twist, that brings the focus on hamstrings, chest and shoulders. It is often practiced as part of a Warrior sequence..
Upward Facing Dog is a name directly translated from Sanskrit (urdhva meaning up or upwards, mukha meaning face, svana or shvana meaning dog) and is referring to a stretch often observed in dog’s behaviour. In yoga, it’s often used as a deeper progression from Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) and sequenced as part of Sun Salutations.
Upward Salute is a simple standing posture usually cued at the start of a Sun Salutation sequence or as part of a breathing exercise. The Sanskrit name literally translates as “raised arms pose” (“Urdhva” meaning upward, “hasta” meaning hand). It’s a great stretch for the whole body, encouraging you to lengthen upwards through fingertips and head while grounding through the feet.
Warrior II, or Virabhadrasana II, is a natural continuation in the Warrior series, and can be used in a sequence as well as practised in isolation. It involves the majority of muscle groups and requires a lot of focus to get all the pose elements right.